First Japanese experience, a lot of indecisions!

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by ricamator, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. ricamator

    ricamator

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    Hi everybody,

    I'm a new entry.  I would like to know some advices about Japanese knifes, because I want to buy my first Japanese Gyutho.

    After reading several topics, my attention was focused on three knifes: the Miyabi 7000D, Tojiro DP and, Masamoto VG.

    At first time, I was quite sure about Miyabi, for aesthetic reasons (damascus blade is a nice addition for me) and several good reviews on the web. The price of this knife held me back, and I decided to inform me better before to face this expense.

    A possible alternative could be the Toijiro, for what I read they have the same type of steel (the VG-10). Herein the first question, is there a big difference between this two knifes? which one do you suggest?

    For what I learned (a bit too little), a great knife and an alternative could be the Masamoto VG, but I do not have any experience by using sharpening stones and the Masamoto have an asymmetrical blade and maybe it is not too easy to sharp. It could be a good Japanese knife for a beginner?

    Have you some other (and maybe better) alternatives?

    Every advice will be really appreciated

    R
     
  2. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    Where do you live and is there someone who knows how to sharpen japanese knives, really knows? If not, your first order of business is learning how. Otherwise you will have a dull and probably chipped knife on your hands whatever you pick within 6 months.
     
  3. tastytaco

    tastytaco

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    Welcome!

    and welcome to the sea of knives...  I'll second what MillionsKnives said, learning how to sharpen is the first order of business, because a dull knife, no matter how fancy is a poor tool.  So know that your first knife will probably be a bit of a learning experience for you.  youtube has tons of videos, but it's the internet and just because it's online doesn't mean it's right.  Hopefully you can have someone that really knows show you in person, or at the very least a knowledgeable knife sharpener do for a fee.

    but to answer your question, knives like the Miyabi are nice for sure, but you are paying for their advertisement and their fit & finish.  Search these forums, and look at places like "korin", "Japanese chef knifes", "knives and stones" and "Japanese knife imports" for knives that spend more time on materials and the steel itself.  The tojiro DP is widely regarded as a good knife for the money and a great entry level knife for the world of Japanese-western chef knives.

    Damascus and hammered finishes sure look nice, but don't do anything (really) for cutting, and you are paying for that -- which is fine.  it's your money.  so if you want to pay for pretty, then do it, just know that what's under the hood is what really matters.
     
  4. foody518

    foody518

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    There's not a big difference sharpening an asymmetrical gyuto vs one that's said to be symmetrical. Both will be poor buys over time without some good sharpening plan to back them up.

    Can you give more information about your budget range, intended usage, cutting technique, etc.?
     
  5. ricamator

    ricamator

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    Thanks everyone for the answers

    Unfortunately, I do not have anyone which can help me to learn how to sharpen with waterstone, I found a lot of interesting videos on youtube regarding this topic, it is not the best way but it is better than nothing, I will do practice and… we will see.

    If the critical point is learning how to sharpen, is it a steel type that is easier to sharpen (maybe it is better for a beginner)? And just for curiousity, how is the R2 steel, in terms of hardness and ease of sharpening, compared to VG-10?

    @Foody518  for the budget I would not exceed the 150 bucks, I would like an all-round knife (without touching bones or hard duties). About cutting technique… I have no idea, sorry

    Thanks

    R
     
  6. foody518

    foody518

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    Do you have a separate sharpening supplies budget outside of the $150? If not, I would suggest getting something in the Tojiro's price range (options that are a little bit softer and with increased toughness compared to Tojiro include offerings from Fujiwara, Kanetsugu, Misono, Suisin, etc.) and spending the rest on sharpening/flattening supplies
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  7. mike9

    mike9

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    Are you in the USA?  That could make a big difference in what's available to you.
     
  8. norcalbaker59

    norcalbaker59 Banned

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    I have a Miyabi Evolution, a line they designed for Sur La Table. I bought it because it's more a hybrid of a western and Japanese knife. While its a good knife, I don't feel comfortable using it to cut hard vegetables like butternut squash or even a large rutabaga.

    It holds a sharp edge, but it's work to sharpen. I took a knife sharpening class with a master bladesmithms everal years ago. I sharpen my knives regularly, but still feel like a novice. It's a skill that takes time learn. After taking the knife sharpening class, I purchasef a couple of inexpensive knives, then spent the next 6-8 months just practicing on those knives. I concluded that we all have to start somewhere, so I took a class and started in.

    In the knife sharpening class, we were given a brand-new Four Star Henckle knife. The bladesmith had us dull the edge, then re-sharpened it over and over again. He said the only way to learn how to sharpen a knife is by doing it.
     
  9. foody518

    foody518

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    Honestly that's how I had to learn too... through online resources (writing) as well as videos.
     
  10. ricamator

    ricamator

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    I live in France in this moment. Here the on-line shops do not have a large choice of products, some knives are very difficult/impossible to find, unfortunately.

     The budget concerns only the knife, I’m thinking to buy a King combo stone (1000/6000) separately, and start to practice with the knifes that I own (supermarket’s blades for now).

    I’m curious also for the Takamura r-2, here in France it is possible to find only the 180 mm gyuto, it should be more fragile than Tojiro dp, but it should maintain its blade sharp longer, right?

    R
     
  11. foody518

    foody518

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    You can look at Korin France's offerings (choices in your budget include Togiharu and Suisin)

    For starting on existing knives which may be thicker and more dull and worn down, I'd almost lean towards suggesting to also get a coarse stone. You'll take some of life out of your medium 1k and likely dish it noticeably while overcoming the learning curve with sharpening your old knives.

    The Takamura looks to be a noticeably thinner blade overall. You may have to put a more conservative initial edge on it to resist microchipping a bit more. The Takamura R2 line goes up to 210mm...180mm I find quite short as a main knife
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  12. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    If you don't mind me intruding on a Japanese knife discussion... I'd like to emphasize the point made above. Most folks I know who get frustrated with sharpening often get frustrated because they try to avoid coarse stones "in the interest of saving steel" or whatever. Almost any significantly dull knife needs some time on a coarser stone before using fine stones of any kind. It may not be a whole lot of time, but...

    BTW, I totally agree about the assessment of 180mm knives.  :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
    foody518 likes this.
  13. rick alan

    rick alan

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    Since they are selling for such a bargain at the moment and are French you should look at Fischer Bargoin Zen knives.  About 100 Euro for an apparently well made 10" Chefs in Swedish 14C28 steel is a serious bargain.  Their Butchery line in 12C26 is also worth a gander.

    Rick
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017